2013 Winner: Envision LLC

Sometimes overnight success takes decades. That's been the case for one of the 2013 RCP Rocket Award winners, Envision LLC.

The company has been building revenues and growing since its founding in 1983, but a confluence of economic and industry trends and some savvy moves by the St. Louis-based services provider's management over the last few years prompted a sharp increase in revenues and profits.

Until recently Envision, which also has offices in Phoenix, spread its efforts among three businesses. The main focus was on IT staffing, but the company also did substantial IT project work and had a side business in hosting.

As the economic downturn intensified a few years ago, staffing had the potential to be a good business. Fewer companies wanted to commit to hiring new employees, but many still needed on-site staff to get critical projects going. The conditions spelled opportunity for firms with established IT staffing businesses such as Envision.

The company's connections and credentials in staffing have always been strong -- it has been working with companies of all sizes, including many in the Fortune 500, for three decades now.

Rather than trying to pursue all of the newly available opportunities through its three existing avenues of staffing, projects and hosting, Envision's management decided to strategically focus on one business and then monitor and manage it very carefully.

"Three years ago we decided to focus only on IT staffing and to put all of our time and effort into one service section," explains Steve Lowy, chairman of Envision.

President and CEO David Jaenke (left) and Chairman Steve Lowy (right) cut IT projects and hosting from the Envision LLC portfolio in order to focus on the core strength of IT staffing.

The company's staffing offerings range from positions with management responsibility, such as project managers, technical leads, systems architects, business analysts and business-continuity consultants, to task-oriented jobs like help desk, technical writing and administrative professionals.

Envision launched a few initiatives to make the staffing business more successful.

One approach was to spur organic growth by building up the number of account managers who were calling on new customers from both the Missouri and Arizona offices.

At the same time, Envision ramped up its recruiting efforts to create a bigger pool of consultants that could be hired out to customers. That effort involved new social media campaigns, aggressive employee referral programs and a "Friends of Envision" non-employee referral program. Envision regularly tweaks the referral programs to reinforce elements that are showing success.

Retention of consulting talent through skills development became even more of a focus, as well.

Combined, those staffing efforts have pushed Envision to a United States footprint of 268 employees working in 23 states.

With all Envision's eggs in the one staffing basket, Lowy has kept careful watch on hiring trends. "Envision has learned to be a flexible company, offering several business models -- IT contractors, six-month right-to-hires and direct-hire placements," Lowy says of the company's ongoing efforts to make sure the types of staffing services Envision offers remain in line with how corporate customers want to consume them.

This narrowing of the business to one strong element and watching it carefully led to mid-double digit annual increases in revenues that have led to a more than 100 percent growth rate over three years. Growth in EBITDA is equally strong.

Read the full 2013 RCP Rocket Award winners feature here.

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About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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